Valuing the impact of pollution on the poor: the case of Bophelong
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This paper reports on a comparative study of poverty and the social cost of pollution among poor households in Bophelong. The level of poverty was measured and compared with the cost of pollution as revealed by citizens of Bophelong through a household questionnaire. To do this, the level of poverty was determined by looking at the Household Subsistence Level (HSL), while the social cost of pollution was determined using Contingent Valuation methods. These methods are generally termed contingent valuation (CV) methods and are used to elicit from respondents what they would be willing to pay for a cleaner environment or what they would have to be paid to accept the pollution. Further, the study performed regression analysis to determine the effect of pollution on poverty levels. Pollution was found to be a problem in the area as reported by respondents. Respondents valued pollution higher in 2013 compared to 2003. It is important for policy makers to be aware of the cost of pollution to the poor as they are more vulnerable due to the inability to cushion themselves against any negative consequences.